Sam Saunders doesn’t want to trade on his grandfather’s name, but it was hard for Arnold Palmer’s grandson to not live directly in the spotlight this week at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Saunders delivered a touching eulogy of Palmer at his funeral service last October, and he represented the Palmer family inside the ropes at Bay Hill, drawing Rory McIlroy and Brandt Snedeker as Thursday-Friday playing partners.
Unfortunately, Saunders missed the cut on Friday after a second consecutive 2-over 74.
“Obviously, I’m disappointed,” Saunders said. “I didn’t hit the ball as well today as I did yesterday. I actually played a lot better yesterday. But I hung in there and I gave it everything I had.”
Starting on No. 10, Saunders birdied two of his first three holes on Friday to get back to even, but he didn’t birdie another hole the rest of the way, dropping four shots to par in the final 15 holes.
Saunders, who has PGA Tour status this season, is missing the weekend for the fourth time in his last five PGA Tour starts. However, Palmer’s grandson has a familiarity with lingering around the cut line — a trait he wish he could overcome.
“I’m far too used to it. I’ve been doing it far too often throughout my career,” he said. “I seem to hover right around that cut. Thursdays and Fridays are never great days for me. I always seem to just, I don’t know, I’ve got a monkey on my back there where I just always seem to work my way towards that cut number and think about it too much. But it’s all part of the learning experience, and just got to get better.”